Florida Chamber of Commerce

UF partners with Safe Schools For Alex to unveil enhanced school safety dashboard

The most comprehensive school safety dashboard in the country is now available, thanks to a collaboration between the University of Florida and Safe Schools For Alex.

Designed to help reduce violence on school campuses by providing timely access to critical school safety data, the dashboard currently serves millions of students, parents, educators, and policy makers throughout Florida. The concept is a model for the development of future dashboards nationwide.

The data includes rates of violence like fighting and weapons, rates of disciplinary responses like suspension and expulsion, public health concerns like vaping, and indicators of school bus safety such as crashes. It also includes measures of context like school achievement and community violence as well as measures of preventative approaches like student to teacher/counselors/nurse/social workers ratios, attendance, and whether schools have suicide prevention trained staff.

“By providing this access to data in a way that a broad spectrum of stakeholders can view, there will be opportunities for schools to adjust practices in real time, and for the state to respond to the needs of districts and schools as they emerge,” said F. Chris Curran, Ph.D., an associate professor of educational leadership and policy at UF, and the director of the Education Policy Research Center in the UF College of Education.

The Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Department of Justice awarded $2 million to UF to support the development of the dashboard, which was collaboratively built with the nonprofit Safe Schools For Alex. Max Schachter founded the latter organization following the murder of his son, Alex, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. Since the tragedy, Safe Schools For Alex has been working to enhance school safety by encouraging accuracy and uniformity of school safety data reporting nationwide.

Prior to the creation of the Safe Schools For Alex School Safety Dashboard in 2020 there was no easy way for parents to understand the levels of violence, drugs, and weapons along with school responses like suspensions and expulsions in Florida’s schools. Many states do not make this data publicly available, while others use formats that don’t readily reveal trends over time or show comparisons between schools and districts.

“Parents want and deserve to know what’s happening after they drop their child off,” said Schachter. “The dashboard is the most comprehensive repository of school safety data available for parents and schools so they can work together to improve the safety and security of Florida’s 4,000 public K-12 schools.”

School safety dashboard 1.0, created with Tableau software, was overhauled with a new design, updated data indicators, and a resource page. Version 2.0 offers best practices for school districts and parents, and the information updates three times a year with data from the Florida Department of Education’s School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting (SESIR) System. The UF team is currently providing Florida education stakeholders with training on how to implement and utilize the enhanced dashboard.

“The school safety dashboard holds promise for schools to be better equipped to track and respond effectively when situations arise,” Curran said. “And parents will have the transparency they desire.”


About the University of Florida

The University of Florida attracts the brightest students, faculty and staff, and connects them with world-class resources to spark extraordinary discoveries and innovations. UF’s momentum is reflected in the university’s designation as a No. 1 public university in the country by the Wall Street Journal and growing research impact, now at a record $1.25 billion. Artificial intelligence is a centerpiece at UF, spanning all disciplines so that every student has the opportunity to acquire competence and expertise in AI. The University of Florida is a place where limitless potential meets boundless opportunity through teaching, research, scholarship and service to the state, the nation and the world.

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Media Contact:
Brittany Sylvestri

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